How Lasagna Gardening works.

The first thing to know about Lasagna Gardening is that it isn’t really a new method at all.  In fact, Lasagna Gardening mirrors the way that plants grow in nature.  Here are the basics:  Lasagna Gardening is a way of growing plants by using alternating layers of brown and green material that will break down over time to create nutrient-rich soil that will contain the necessary biological activity you need to maintain healthy plant growth. The only digging you’ll have to do will be to start new plants. Here is our guide for creating a Lasagna Garden:

Select a spot for your garden and create cover.

We suggest using an area that is 4 feet wide and with any length.  The width is key because you want to be able to get to the center of your garden without having to walk through it.  Next put down a layer of cardboard (or 3 layers of newspaper) to smother the weeds or grass.  Moistening the newspaper or cardboard will help keep it in place. The weeds will then break down underneath this cover, saving you time and energy having to dig them up.

Begin adding layers of organic material.

There are many different recipes available for Lasagna Gardens, but alternating brown and green material layers is the important step at this point.  Brown material contains lots of carbon, and can include things like twigs and branches, straw, sawdust or woodchips, dry leaves, and newspaper or cardboard.  Green material contains large amounts of nitrogen, which is critical for plant growth. Good sources of green material include fresh cut grass, manure, fruit and veggie scraps, and coffee grounds.  Begin with a nice thick layer of brown material like twigs and small branches, then add a layer of green material, then alternate back to brown.  Make sure these layers are between 4 and 6 inches deep, and keep building it in this way until your pile gets to at least 2 feet high.  If you want to plant immediately, then top off your new bed with a layer of about 4 inches of Peat Moss or compost.  Your pile will settle and become compact fairly quickly in the next few weeks, and after that your bed will have a high nutrient content for growing all sorts of plants.

Maintaining layered beds.

We recommend adding new layers of brown and green material between plantings to keep feeding the soil.  Fall and/or late Winter are ideal times to do this. While working in the garden this time of year isn’t as glamorous as other times of the year, it’s a great way to reflect and remind ourselves to feed our soil just as our soil, ultimately, feeds us.